Home » News » Mazda » Mazda MINAGI Concept revealed

The Mazda MINAGI Concept will premiere at the Geneva Motor Show today, and it represents a new crossover that will be the first vehicle to combine the automaker's new SKYACTIV technologies with the KODO design theme.

The Mazda MINAGI will also make use of the new generation transmission and chassis technologies and in this case the concept represents a preview for the upcoming production version CX-5 which will most probably hit the market in the fourth quarter of 2011.  

As for the SKYACTIV technologies, Mazda says their goal is to reduce average fuel consumption across the range with around 30 percent by 2015, using the 2008 figures as reference.

Once it will be launched across the globe, the production version Mazda MINAGI / CX-5 will compete against models like the Audi Q5 and Volkswagen Tiguan. 

Mazda press release :

Message from Takashi Yamanouchi
President of Mazda Motor Corporation

“This year, the Geneva Show is an important occasion for Mazda as we enter a brand new chapter in our history.  We are unveiling the first concrete vision of our future: a glimpse of the kind of next-generation products that combine our new SKYACTIV technologies with our new design theme, ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’.  I hope you see this as tangible evidence that Mazda is delivering on its commitment to offer driving pleasure coupled with outstanding environmental performance to all its customers.

As you walk around Mazda’s show stand, you can also see individual exhibits of our new SKYACTIV

technology family.  SKYACTIV is an umbrella term that refers to all of Mazda’s innovative new technologies that blend the apparently contradictory elements of driving pleasure with environmental and safety performance. 

Mazda’s engineers adopted a “sky’s the limit” approach to achieve a number of technological breakthroughs in their quest for optimal efficiency.  As a result of their ingenuity, Mazda’s SKYACTIV engines achieve the world’s best compression ratios, SKYACTIV transmissions are incredibly efficient, and the SKYACTIV body and chassis have been developed with comprehensive weight reductions.

Through these technologies, we are confident of achieving our long-term vision for technology development, ‘Sustainable Zoom-Zoom’, which aims to improve the global average fuel economy of the Mazda fleet by 30 percent by 2015.  The SKYACTIV technologies will initially debut in our current vehicle line-up.  Following this, new SKYACTIV models will be progressively introduced to global markets starting this year.

Mazda design has long been focused on finding new ways to express movement, and now we are evolving this search to the next level.  Our new design theme for all upcoming Mazda vehicles is called ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’.  It refers to movement that excites the heart and stirs the spirit.  Through KODO, we seek to express the sense of instantaneous power, beauty and tension that can be seen in the animal world.  The Mazda SHINARI concept car is the first visualization of KODO.

SHINARI is followed by the new Mazda MINAGI concept car, which combines the new KODO design language with SKYACTIV technologies.  It is an early indication of what to expect from Mazda’s upcoming new generation of products.  With the full range of SKYACTIV technologies and KODO design, Mazda MINAGI unlocks new possibilities for SUVs: it is a unique crossover SUV for urban explorers which fuses emotional design with outstanding performance.

In order to offer all our customers next-generation products that blend driving pleasure with outstanding environmental and safety performance at an affordable price, we are advancing Mazda’s Building Block Strategy.  This plan prioritises the innovation of the base technologies that comprise a vehicle’s core competencies, and augments them through the step-by-step introduction of electronic devices.  Following on from Mazda’s unique “i-stop” idling stop system, which is already available in several markets, we are accelerating our R&D efforts with a view to introducing regenerative braking, hybrid technology, and potentially a plug-in hybrid and an electric vehicle.  We firmly believe that our Building Block Strategy is the best way to contribute to the reduction of global CO2 emissions.

Mazda celebrated its 90th anniversary last year.  Throughout our long history, Mazda has continued to challenge conventional thinking and overcome perceived obstacles by seeking breakthroughs.  Today, this breakthrough spirit is still thriving throughout our company.  

This year is sure to be a memorable one for Mazda as we begin delivering our revolutionary next-generation products to customers.  Although changes around us are occurring at a dizzying pace, no matter what the times bring, Mazda will continue to make hearts beat faster when people see, feel and drive our cars.  Driving pleasure is the philosophy behind the way we make cars, and this will never change.  Rest assured, there are many more breakthroughs to come.”

Takashi Yamanouchi
Representative Director, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO

1.  Summary

Mazda premieres at Geneva 2011
At this year’s Geneva Motor Show, Mazda Motor Corporation is presenting the world premiere of its new MINAGI concept car.  On the main stage in Geneva both the MINAGI and SHINARI concepts embody the brand’s new KODO design identity.  In addition, the stand will host a special exhibition of Mazda’s SKYACTIV technologies including new powertrains, transmission, body and chassis technologies which will feature in next-generation Mazda products.  Finally, Mazda is introducing a new ‘Spring 2011 special edition’ MX-5 sportscar for the European market.

‘KODO – Soul of Motion’, the new design language
At its heart,Mazda’s new design language ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’ is based around the power and beauty that one sees in the instantaneous movement of animals or humans.  With the keywords –Speed, Tension, and Allure – this design language aims to express a faster and more forceful movement, and brings a more soulful new element to Mazda vehicle design.

Mazda MINAGI Concept – World premiere
The new Mazda MINAGI concept is a compact crossover SUV that embodies Mazda’s all-new, next-generation product features, adopting the full range of Mazda’s SKYACTIV technologies –from powertrains to chassis and body – and KODO, the new Mazda design theme.  Mazda MINAGI is the second of the KODO design series, following the Mazda SHINARI design concept that debuted last year.  The two concepts indicate the future of Mazda design and demonstrate the potential of Mazda’s design language.

Mazda SHINARI Concept
Mazda’s KODO design language is beautifully expressed in the SHINARI concept car.  SHINARI is a four-door, four-seat sports coupe concept with an exterior form expressing tension, agility and power.  SHINARI perfectly communicates Mazda’s new KODO design theme in a graceful and animated form.

Mazda SKYACTIV – next-generation technologies
Mazda is displaying its core SKYACTIV technologies at Geneva, all part of the next generation of upcoming products.  The SKYACTIV-G direct-injection petrol and SKYACTIV-D diesel engines drastically reduce fuel consumption and lower emissions, while Mazda SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission and SKYACTIV-MT manual transmission improve performance, fuel consumption and driving feel.  SKYACTIV-Body is lightweight, rigid and safer and Mazda’s SKYACTIV-Chassis is the lightweight next-generation chassis of the future.

Mazda MX-5 Special Edition, Spring 2011
Also at Geneva, Mazda is introducing a new ‘Spring 2011 special edition’ MX-5 for the European market.  This new limited edition MX-5 model has unique features and an exclusive body colour to add a more premium feel to the world’s best-selling open top two-seat sportscar, and is available in both the soft-top and roadster coupe bodystyles.

2. Mazda ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’ Design Language

Over the years Mazda has often explored the idea of ‘motion’ to inspire its unique vehicle designs.  The next generation of Mazda cars, influenced by nature’s power and beauty, has been evolved by taking the instantaneous movement of animals or humans as its inspiration.  The new design language is called ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’

At its heart KODO is based around the image of a predator, as it strikes at its prey, or the stabbing movement in the ancient Japanese martial art of kendo to express the instant where accumulated force is released.  This is the form displayed in the exact moment motion begins – in the moment when a cheetah pounces on its prey, or the moment of a sword strike in kendo.  It is when accumulated tensional force is released with the most finely-honed balance of strength and streamlined beauty.  It is an exhibition of power and speed, of controlled tension, that creates a sophisticated and seductive beauty.

This instantaneous movement is the ultimate form of motion, filled with vitality and emotion; it is the essence of Mazda’s new design language which will be incorporated into all Mazda designs to express faster and more forceful movement and convey a more soulful element to Mazda vehicle design.

Initiated by Ikuo Maeda, General Manager of Mazda’s Design Division, this latest chapter in Mazda design springs from his creativity, passion and determination.

“KODO design is not limited to a single expression of form.  Through KODO design, I want to convey strength and beauty in movement that inspires the spirit. It is my belief that the human, animal and the natural worlds offer us startling images of beauty in movement. I want to express the sense of beauty and strength found in these worlds by making full use of their forms in the design of our cars.

In the Mazda SHINARI, we expressed instantaneous speed. Through the shape of the vehicle, we interpreted the concentration and the tension that builds up inside an animal as it stands motionless, and prepares to lunge forward and attack. However, its target does not stand still; it runs wildly to escape. In response, the predator smoothly changes direction as it runs, calmly drawing closer to its prey.

For the second iteration of KODO rendered in the Mazda MINAGI, I was inspired by the stance that underpins this agile, yet extremely stable, motion. It is flexible and muscular action without a single wasted movement. I felt that these motifs should be assimilated into our new concept car.

Mazda MINAGI imparts a unique shape that clearly differentiates its character. In particular, its proportions are an elegant reflection of the highly dynamic performance that is sought in SKYACTIV technologies”.

Ikuo Maeda
General Manager, Mazda Design Division

2.1. Mazda MINAGI Concept – World Premiere

The Mazda MINAGI concept car embodies Mazda’s new SKYACTIV technologies and new KODO design language, signaling the way for the next generation of Mazda cars to come

The MINAGI concept showcases characteristics likely to be seen in the next generation of Mazda cars.  For this reason, Mazda has fully incorporated its SKYACTIV technologies into every aspect of driving performance, including the powertrain, chassis, and even body design.  MINAGI challenges conventions with emotional design and exhilarating performance.

MINAGI’s design elements combine the expression of energy pulsing throughout the vehicle with the keen agility to move about freely and nimbly.  With its upright, compact packaging, MINAGI offers a vision of KODO design that is different to SHINARI, yet it shares the same sinuous, powerful stance.

“I wanted to convey something different from the Mazda SHINARI. I felt a compact crossover SUV was the perfect vehicle to express agility and focused movement; the flexibility of four limbs moving in unison, and an upright posture.”

Masashi Nakayama
Chief Designer, MINAGI Concept

Mazda MINAGI is a stylish expression of pent-up energy.  In Japanese, its name conjures up the image of an object pulsating with energy and perfectly reflects the vehicle’s speed, agility and spirited character.  For MINAGI, Mazda designers looked at different aspects of cheetahs as they hunt.  A cheetah’s head is positioned high, while long, powerful and supple limbs hold its lean torso upright to enable it to change direction quickly at high speed.  Mazda’s designers set out to evoke the moment when an animal contracts its muscles, ready to lunge at its prey.  Such a lunge can be in any direction; an idea which fits with the function of an agile crossover SUV as it darts through a sprawling cityscape.

At a glance / MINAGI Concept

Exterior Proportions

    * The cargo bay of conventional SUVs often resembles a vehicle wearing a backpack, whereas MINAGI presents an image of a muscular entity that cleanly incorporates spaciousness within well-toned lines
    * Placing the A-pillar rearward emphasizes the rearward orientation of the cabin. This stands in sharp contrast to the single-arc silhouette of frontward A-pillar placement on minivans, and emphasizes the driving position; a priority of this design
    * The cabin’s position relative to the lower body is further back than on conventional SUVs. This emphasizes the motion expressed in MINAGI’s form

Front view

    * The chromed ‘signature wing’ on the front fascia, shared with SHINARI, makes MINAGI immediately recognizable as a Mazda and creates a strong impression
    * Angling the front grille slightly downwards, while juxtaposing the headlamp housings design to slant upward, creates intensity
    * Adding more dynamic contours to the prominent front fenders – highly characteristic of Mazda cars – expresses KODO design language’s forceful sense of accumulating, then instantly releasing, pent-up energy. These elements combine with the dynamic form of the rear fenders further emphasizing the wheels, which form the legs of this predator

Side view

    * Sculpted lines along the sides of MINAGI’s body accentuate a sense of power which suggests the supple strength of a cheetah. These contours extend and connect with the rear fender in an expression which suggests the powerful musculature that joins the cheetah’s shoulders and hips to its legs
    * The character line that flows along the lower part of MINAGI’s side panels symbolizes KODO’s sense of power being accumulated then quickly released

Rear view

    * The rear fenders project boldly outward to create a wide, stable stance befitting an SUV
    * The contrast between the rear fenders and the taut lines of the car’s rear end mimics the strong and seductive hip line of a toned athlete

Headlamp design

    * As with SHINARI, the chromed ‘signature wing’ that sweeps up from the bottom of the front grille disappears dramatically into the centre of the headlamp housings
    * The designs of the three-dimensional headlamp and rear combination lamps add a heightened sense of depth
    * The line of the ‘signature wing’ element and the headlamp design combine to express the intense look of a wild animal’s gaze

Interior design – High quality expressed in every detail Aims

    * Mazda’s designers set out to realise a driver-focused cockpit and a cabin environment that expresses a reassuringly high level of strength and solidity.
    * Superior fit and finish adds to the anticipation of the driving pleasure to come by creating a refined and quality cabin environment
    * The main black interior colour is contrasted by the colour red in the rear seatbacks and at the bottom of the door armrests

Characteristics unique to a compact crossover SUV

    * Four upright satin chrome struts appear to support the instrument panel, each rising upward in an image of vertical strength which appears to defy gravity, underscoring the impression that MINAGI’s occupants are securely protected
    * The design of the instrument cluster and surrounding switches emphasizes the snug, sporty nature of the driver-focused cockpit, while expressing Mazda’s sporty ethos

Craftsmanship

    * Leather seats and door trim have been fashioned using the finest leather available
    * Carefully sewn raised pleats express the interior’s high level of quality
    * The ‘black smoked’ coating on the dark tinted horizontal metal panel – positioned along the centre of the instrument panel – shows the high quality of the interior components
    * Solid metal components, including the door handles, are milled from aluminium and carefully polished to provide a smooth, quality-enhancing surface.
    * The door handles are designed to resemble the beauty and functionality of high-end racing bicycle components

2.2. Mazda SHINARI Concept

The Japanese word shinari describes the power, suppleness and forceful resilience seen when objects of high tensile strength, such as steel or bamboo, are twisted or bent.  It can also refer to the appearance of a person or animal as it flexibly transforms its body to generate fast movement.  It is this movement thatinspired Mazda’s designers to convey ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’ in the form of SHINARI, its first KODO design concept.

The Mazda SHINARI is a four-door, four-seat sports coupe concept.  Its form suggests the powerful and tense movement of a lean and supple animal’s body with highly developed muscles.  The exterior form of SHINARI incorporates lines and surfaces with subtle twists that are full of tension to express agile and powerful movement and convey Mazda’s new design language ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’.  Thanks to the tension conveyed by its surfaces, Mazda’s SHINARI looks ready to leap at any second. The design communicates the sudden release of pent-up energy while showing beautiful and supple movement.

Mazda’s designers focused on the delicate and accurate control of all of the car’s exterior elements in order to balance the car’s organic forms and express SHINARI's message.  The front fender is a signature element of the car and it is one of SHINARI’s most significant features.  As is the floating bar – which links the grille with the headlights – and expresses speed in three dimensions.

The styling is also highly functional.  Aerodynamic performance was a key priority for Mazda’s design team.  At the front and rear of the car, the centre of each fascia has been designed to channel and then optimize airflow along SHINARI’s underbody.  The flared line which visually connects the front bumper with the side sills and the rear bumper fulfills a similar role, directing airflow along the car’s flanks, and further contributing to the coupe’s aerodynamic performance.

At a glance / SHINARI Concept

Exterior:

The A-pillar tapers towards the rear of the car, the shape of the cabin and the front fender give the car a crouching and focused stance

    * SHINARI’s distinctive front fenders are an evolution of those first seen on the Mazda RX-8
    * SHINARI’s character lines flow rearward from the front fenders and forward from the rear fenders in a multi-layered effect suggesting forceful tension combined with graceful beauty All of SHINARI’s body surfaces appear as if constantly changing. Other than the strong backbone which runs through its body, there is no static shape to be found.
    * The subtle control of the angle of the upper surface of the side sill – from the front to the rear – suggests a flash of speed along the body of the car
    * SHINARI’s luminous metallic blue colour was chosen to convey the image of hard metal. The contrast between the highlights and the shadows is a deliberate visual technique.
    * For the headlights, designers created a structure with no outer lens. This exposes the deep-set lights, suggesting the eyes of a wild animal. The exterior mirrors, wheels and exhaust tailpipes accentuate agility and lightness, while also conveying a feeling of hand-made craftsmanship to suggest superior, premium quality

Interior:

    * Essential mechanical functions are combined with superior ergonomics to create the ‘ultimate athletic space’. The instrument panel has been divided into zones, isolating the driver cockpit from the rest of the interior and enhancing driver-focus
    * Intuitive 'reach zones' have been created. All controls and instruments have been designed and positioned to enhance the driving experience
    * Interior craftsmanship is characterised by the authentic application of materials including machined billet aluminium, soft natural leathers and the precision design of instrumentation and controls. The result is an interior with an alluring, premium quality
    * To reinforce the message of driver orientation, the design of the primary and secondary instruments echo the main cockpit shape.
    * The main dashboard surfaces are positioned low – and away from the occupants – to enhance the sensation of openness
    * The floating HMI three-dimensional display offers three distinct modes: 'Business, Pleasure and Sport'. The Business-mode enables the driver to stay connected to his work tasks. In Pleasure-mode, focus is on comfort and entertainment. In Sport-mode the driving set-up is changed; paddle shift controls are activated and suspension settings are uprated for performance driving, with controls simplified so that the driver can focus solely on driving

3. Mazda SKYACTIV technologies

Mazda’s new SKYACTIV technologies combine breakthrough innovation and state-of-the-art technology.  These next-generation technologies include petrol and diesel engines with record compression ratios, all-new manual and automatic transmissions and body and chassis systems which are lighter and more responsive.  The introduction of these technologies will result in major reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions for all Mazda models.  In line with Mazda’s ‘Sustainable Zoom-Zoom’ strategy, these technologies will improve the average fuel economy of Mazda vehicles sold globally by 30 percent by 2015 (compared to 2008)

Mazda’s ‘breakthrough’ engineering and manufacturing approach to its next generation of vehicles has enabled it to solve various conflicting issues simultaneously.  For example, how to increase the compression ratio of a petrol engine without the risk of a drop in torque –

due to knocking.  This has led to a number of breakthrough technologies, with the goal of achieving the ideal internal combustion engine.  Combined with a successful lightweight strategy – encompassingnext-generation engines, transmissions, vehicle body and chassis technologies – which dramatically improvesfuel economy and CO2 emissions, these new technologies will begin to be deployed on all vehicles in the Mazda line-up globally starting from 2011.

At a glance / SKYACTIV Technologies

SKYACTIV-G – new direct-injection petrol engine

    * Achieves the world’s highest petrol engine compression ratio for mass production vehicles  of 14.0:1 (more than a Formula 1 race car engine – currently 12.5:1!) without abnormal combustion (knocking)
    * Significantly improved engine efficiency resulting in 15 percent increase in torque, and fuel economy comparable to Mazda’s current 2.2-litre diesel
    * Improved everyday driving thanks to increased torque at low- to mid-engine speeds
    * A 4-2-1 exhaust system, cavity pistons, multi-hole injectors and other innovations enable the high compression ratio
          o Weight reduction: overall engine weight reduced by 10 percent
          o Overall engine friction reduction of 30 percent
          o Dual S-VT intake with electric sequential valve timing (S-VT) to minimize pumping losses

SKYACTIV-D – new clean diesel engine

    * Meets global emissions regulations (Euro 6 in Europe, Tier2Bin5 in North America, and the Post New Long-Term Regulations in Japan) without expensive NOxafter-treatments thanks to the world’s lowest diesel engine compression ratio of 14.0:1
    * 20 percent better fuel economy compared to Mazda’s current 2.2-litre diesel
    * A new two-stage turbocharger delivers smooth and linear responses by boosting low- and high-end torque (up to the 5,200 rpm rev limit)
    * Highly efficient Mazda active ceramic diesel particulate filter (DPF)
    * Weight reduction of 10 percent
    * Reduced friction of 20 percent
    * Variable valve lift for stable combustion during a cold start (avoids misfiring)

SKYACTIV-Drive – new six-speed automatic transmission

    * Quicker, lighter and more fun to drive
    * Achieves excellent torque transfer efficiency through a wider lock-up range and features the best attributes of all transmission types. The result is a connected driving feel similar to a manual transmission
    * Combines all the advantages of a conventional automatic transmission, a continuously variable transmission, and a dual clutch transmission
    * Up to 7 percent improvement in fuel economy versus Mazda’s current five-speed automatic transmission
    * Available for SKYACTIV-D and SKYACTIV-G

SKYACTIV-MT – light and compact new manual transmission

    * Optimised for a front-engine, front wheel-drive layout, its crisp, short and light stroke ensures a shifting feel similar to that of an MX-5
    * Significantly reduced size and weight due to a revised structure
    * Enables more efficient vehicle packaging thanks to its compact size
    * Improved fuel economy due to reduced internal friction

SKYACTIV-Body – new lightweight, highly-rigid body

    * Outstanding crash safety performance and lightness (meets the top criteria for crash safety assessments in all markets; 8 percent weight loss )
    * Reduced weight through optimised bonding methods and expanded use of high-tensile steel
    * A ‘straight structure’ in which each part of the frame is configured to be as straight as possible (30 percent more rigid)

SKYACTIV-Chassis – new high-performance lightweight chassis

    * Balances precise handling with a comfortable ride quality
    * Newly-developed front strut and rear multi-link suspension ensures high rigidity and lightness (the entire chassis is 14 percent lighter than the previous version)
    * Mid-speed agility and high-speed stability, plus enhanced ride quality at all speeds, achieved through a revision of the functional allocation of all the suspension and steering components
    * Realises Jinba ittai-like connected driving feel of oneness between car and driver


4. Mazda MX-5 ‘Spring 2011 Special Edition’

Twenty years on, Mazda’s legendary MX-5 sportscar has become the world’s best-selling two-seat open top roadster with more than 900,000 units produced thanks to its unique formula of pure Zoom-Zoom spirited driving fun combined with reliability, durability and affordability

At this year’s Geneva show, Mazda is introducing a ‘Spring 2011 Special Edition’ of the MX-5.

The new model has special features including a premium leather interior and a new unique Dolphin Grey exterior colour.  Upgraded exterior equipment includes chrome door handles, silver fog lamp bezels and chrome surrounds around the front bumper grille plus a white lens on the high-level brake light.  Seventeen-inch alloy wheels in a bright finish complete the premium look.  Inside, interior equipment includes tinted grey leather seats and chrome rings around the dashboard instrumentation and air outlets.  True to the spirit of Zoom-Zoom, the Mazda MX-5 Special Edition still boasts perfect 50:50 weight distribution and a high power-to-weight ratio.

The Special Edition is available with the 126 PS, 1.8-litre engine in several LHD markets and with the 1.8-litre engine or 160 PS 2.0-litre engine in the UK.  All engines are combined with a five-speed manual transmission.

Depending on country, the 1.8 model is available either with a soft-top or retractable hardtop.  The 2.0 version with a retractable hardtop is only available in the UK.

All models have the same legendary sportscar handling, agility and performance for which the MX-5 is famous, plus the same modest CO2 emissions, enviable reliability and affordable ownership and running costs.

At a glance / MX-5 ‘Spring 2011 Special Edition’

– Additional equipment over SE model

    * Three exterior colours – Aluminium Mica, Sparkling Black (new for MX-5) and Dolphin Grey (new and unique for this Special Edition)
    * Chrome door handles
    * Silver fog lamp bezels
    * Chrome trim surround for front bumper grille
    * White lens on high-level brake light
    * Polished 17-inch alloy wheels
    * Front suspension strut tower bracing bar
    * Premium tinted grey leather seats with five-step seat heater
    * Door panel inserts in tinted grey
    * Contrast stitching on seats, steering wheel, hand brake lever and door panels
    * Chrome rings around dashboard instrumentation and air outlets
    * Silver style-bar covers
    * Alloy pedals set
    * Bluetooth®connectivity*
    * Cruise control*
    * BOSE® sound system**

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